Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: There’s still a place for old-time Christmas presents

One of my favourite toys as a child was Lego

It’s often said that Christmas is for kids and, looking back, it seems to be the truth.

I remember as a child lying in bed on Christmas Eve and not being able to sleep because of all the excitement in the house.

I would wander around from room to room bothering my older brothers and sisters until about 5 a.m., which I figured was late enough to finally wake my parents and get the party started.

Nobody was allowed near the tree until everyone was gathered outside the living room.

The rush into the living room where the Christmas tree and all the presents were was probably the most exciting few moments of every year when I was a toddler, even though being the youngest and smallest meant that I risked being toppled over if I got in the way of bigger and older siblings in the initial charge.

Gifts of every kind were everywhere (did I mention I have six siblings?) and I would spend the day playing with my newest dinky cars, race tracks that had to be assembled and toy table-hockey games, amongst other treasures.

Kids’ toys were different in those pre-computer days, with more of them hands-on and requiring at least some physical activity and social interaction to play them.

It seems that these days, for many kids, it’s all about the newest computer games and the latest cell phones with lots of apps.

One of my favourite toys as a child was Lego, which consists mostly of interlocking plastic bricks for those not familiar with the brand.

I had thought Lego had pretty much gone the way of the dodo, but was amazed when I was invited to a friend’s house recently and found the household absorbed in building a very complicated and impressive looking English double-decker bus out of Lego.

Apparently, someone at the Lego company (who deserves a raise) had come up with the idea to make Lego sets for adults and families that allows them to build complex buildings and other structures using very specific instructions that come with the set.

Apparently, Lego has had a resurrection of its business as a result.

I was also surprised to come across an Etch A Sketch last weekend.

For those born after the Reagan administration, Etch A Sketch is a drawing toy in which two white buttons are used to draw lines across a screen in different directions to make pictures.

I had one when I was young and used to spend hours trying to draw complicated pictures.

Unfortunately, my artistic skills are almost non-existent and my drawings looked more like something a Neanderthal might have come up with.

But it was fun trying and I was more than pleased when I attended our staff Christmas party and discovered my colleague Darin Lashman’s young son Lennox sitting in a chair absorbed in drawing with an Etch A Sketch.

I asked Lennox, a rather gregarious young man much like his father, if he enjoyed playing with the Etch A Sketch as much as computer games.

Lennox said that while he, like most of his peers, loves computer games, he also likes games that you don’t have to plug in or recharge.

It seems there is still a place for old-time toys these days, and I encourage those still Christmas shopping this year to remember that when buying for the kids.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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